Scientists working in many fields, including neurophysiology and genetics, seek to discover mechanisms for pain that are vulnerable to therapies and variables that predictively influence pain experiences.
As you navigated this course, you assessed and treated a complex patient care model with acute, recurrent and chronic orofacial pain from cancer. Along the way you learned about the current state of knowledge for pain genetics and orofacial pain neurophysiology. You developd a differential diagnosis for orofacial pain and identified key findings from the patient history and physical exam to distinguish this patient’s pain from more common orofacial pains: dentition and TMD. Consistent with the biopsychosocial model of pain, you considered the mechanism of pharmacology and nonpharmacologic strategies to develop an interdisciplinary pain treatment plan.
As a healthcare provider, you must remain vigilent for new therapies and treatment options that ease your patients’ suffering. You must also be ready to translate pain research into clinical practice. Prepare to embace a potential paradigm shift in how pain is assessed, measured and treated.